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Aerospace and Defense Channel / European Industry News

2013 DSEI: A force to be reckoned with

September 16, 2013
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When the 2013 Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) that took place at the Excel exhibition centre in London from 10 to 13 September with claims to bring together the ‘entire’ defence and security, it is hard to argue otherwise. The biennial event attracted 1,500 international , suppliers from more than 50 countries, a  larger number of international pavilions, including South Korea, Brazil, India, Australia, UK, USA and six new dedicated seminar theatres offering free educational sessions and showcases. There were specialised air, naval, land, security, medical and unmanned zones, expanded live waterborne and unmanned systems demonstrations and static vehicle displays for the land, air and naval sectors.

From semiconductors and PCBs through to tanks and naval vessels DSEI covered the complete Defence & Security sector and military uniforms mixed with business suits as attendees looked to source the latest equipment and systems, develop international relationships, and generate new business opportunities.

Being so vast and all encompassing there was the danger of needing night sights and a complex surveillance system to identify the products and systems relevant to the RF and microwave sector. However, as the synergies between electronic manufacturing and the defence industry have become increasingly apparent and important, the organizers created a pavilion dedicated to electronic manufacturing companies which are heavily involved with the defence and security industry, along with there being a considerable presence of electronics exhibitors across the show floorThe Association of Old Crows (AOC) Electronic Warfare Pavilion showcased electronic warfare capabilities in a dedicated area, while exhibitors specialising in the communications sector were also well represented.

Following is a selection of key announcements, new products and participating exhibitors relevant to the RF and microwave industry.

API Technologies Corp. showcased solutions from its RF/microwave and secure communications product lines. These include the launch of a new modular Active Antenna Array Unit (AAAU) concept for radar systems. The AAAU solution is an innovative design featuring interchangeable Quad Transmit Receive Modules (QTRMs) that come fully calibrated, making them line replaceable for decreased system downtime. It is ideally suited for radar applications such as Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESA), as well as data link and satellite communication (SATCOM) solutions, supporting X-band, S-band and C-band applications.

BAE Systems and Terma A/S announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to explore potential collaborations within the field of: Aircraft survivability equipment including 3D-audio and active noise reduction, electronics manufacturing, naval radars and radar antenna design and aircraft composite structures.

Jens Maaløe, President & CEO, Terma said: “We see potentially strong synergies between our companies. Terma’s aerospace experience within composites structures technology, and electronic warfare equipment including 3D-Audio and Active Noise Reduction high-end technology provide promising opportunities for collaboration. Based on the actual Memorandum of Understanding, we look forward to combining BAE and our core capabilities and to investigating a shared number of exciting business opportunities in the international market.”

“We have a strong track record of working with Danish industry, so I am delighted that our partnership with Terma is being expanded,” said Paul Hitchcock, Vice President for Western Europe at BAE Systems. “BAE Systems is already working closely with Terma in the air sector. This agreement broadens the scope of potential cooperation across other areas of our global defence and security business.”

Cassidian, the defence and security division of EADS has proved the capabilities of its newly developed SPEXER 1000 security radar in a series of large-scale field trials, employing realistic scenarios. The company announced that in the course of demanding tests conducted in Africa and South-East Asia the radar demonstrated exceptional detection capabilities under the toughest conditions – coastal situations, difficult terrain and poor weather. SPEXER 1000 thus proved its suitability as a cost-effective solution for stationary or mobile intelligence and surveillance protecting critical infrastructure.

Cobham showcased an innovative range of products and services to solve challenging problems across commercial, defence and security markets. In particular the Stand featured affordable, highly reliable/high performance satellite and radio communications for commercial and governmental applications on land/sea and airborne; tactical communications, security and surveillance products to securely share situational awareness from urban areas to digital battlefields; and advanced Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) detection systems to support Counter-IED and mine clearance operations.

CRFS launched its RFeye® Nexus range of wideband receiver modules, featuring what the company claims to be class-leading signal interception capability and flexible PCIe interfacing for easy integration into other systems. Designed for the most demanding signals intelligence (SIGINT) applications, the RFeye Nexus range offers 80 MHz real-time bandwidth from either 100 kHz to 18 GHz or 100 kHz to 6 GHz. Each module is capable of sweeping at 150 GHz/s with excellent noise characteristics for reliable capture of all signals, including short-burst events.

The RFeye Nexus range is modular and has flexible backplane and interface options, allowing modules to be installed in any suitable enclosure and easily connected to power, PCIe, trigger and reference sources. Modules can be supplied as VITA 3U rack-mountable cards with VPX backplane for integration with the broader sensor arrays typically found in SIGINT or EW systems. They can also be provided as integrator modules with custom fitment and a PCIe connector capable of supporting full IQ data streaming. Also, a fully standalone option is available in an IP67 enclosure with PCIe Edge connectivity for users wanting a deployment-ready system.

Diamond Microwave showcased its ultra-compact high power solid state power amplifiers in X-Band and Ku-Band, which are suitable for use in demanding defence, aerospace and communications applications. These solid-state power amplifiers are based on GaN devices offer state-of-the-art pulsed power performance coupled with a power-to-volume ratio that the company believes to be among the highest in the industry for such products. Pulsed power output levels of up to 150 W have been achieved. The designs are flexible in layout and architecture, and are fully customisable to meet individual specifications for electrical, mechanical and environmental parameters. Amplifiers with pulsed power outputs in excess of 1 kW, and with multi-octave bandwidths, are under development.

Stopping the traffic – literally – was e2v that showcased its new RF Safe-Stop™ technology, which has the ability to stop vehicle engines at a distance of up to 50 m. The technology can immobilise a variety of motor vehicles and small boats, causing the engine to shut down, typically in less than one second, with a non-destructive effect and the company has conducted extensive testing and signal conditioning to ensure that the RF field falls within international guidelines, making it human-safe.

The RF Safe-Stop™ is compact enough to fit into 4x4 vehicles, is silent so can be used for covert operation, modular and easy to operate. On land typical applications include high value asset protection, checkpoint enforcement, convoy protection and vehicle immobilisation while at sea it can be used for harbour entry protection, maritime policing and anti-piracy.

The company also introduced a new range of ultra wideband (2-18 GHz) Microwave Power Modules (MPMs). Suitable for use in Electronic Warfare, data links and radar and communications systems, the MPMs feature market-leading size, weight and power (SWaP) characteristics and are not covered by International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The 2-18 GHz frequency range is conventionally serviced by two MPMs, but e2v now offers a unique single-tube, multi-octave device.

Enterprise Control Systems specialises in the design and manufacture of microwave surveillance solutions and RF inhibitors, which are currently being used by the military, police and specialist security teams across the globe. During the exhibition the company carried out a number of live demonstrations of its Evenlode IP Data Link system as part of the CTruk Collaborative Amphibious Project.

Elektrobit(EB), a leading military and radio communications solutions specialist showcased a comprehensive range of products including services for wireless and wire-line Tactical Communications, Electronic Warfare, and Signals Intelligence. An example is the innovative Tactical Wireless IP Network communication system recently delivered to the Finnish Defence Forces. The product delivery consists of tactical router and radio head units, enabling the formation of Mobile ad hoc Networks (MANETs) even in harsh environmental conditions.

Euroquartz highlighted its wide range of high reliability crystal and oscillator products. These include crystals and oscillators for electronic systems used in satellites, civil and military aircraft and a broad range of ‘defence related’ equipment as well applications as diverse as train control systems and medical electronics. The company’s well established EQXO-2000BM range of oscillators offers customers the security of full MIL screening when required where their ability to operate at high temperatures indefinitely has ensured the parts have been a popular choice for aerospace, upper atmosphere and space applications. Housed in 8-pin dual-in-line packages, the EQXO-2000BM devices offer frequencies from 30 kHz to 70 MHz with frequency stability of ±100 ppm or ±50ppm over the full military temperature range from -55 to +125°C.

Greenray Industries is a leading manufacturer of precision crystal oscillators, offering frequency control solutions for several key markets. For the military market, the company provides products for smart munitions, missile guidance, mobile receivers and radar systems. While offering outstanding vibration, shock and acceleration sensitivity performance, its ruggedized components also provide competitive stability and phase noise characteristics. The company claims that the stability performance of several of its TCXOs matches that of an OCXO, but without the excessive power draw and warm-up time. In addition, self-calibrating oscillators with excellent reliability and long-term stability are available.

Greenray also serves the needs of the communications industry with products designed for applications including Stratum III and IIIE for telecommunications, as well as wireless and SATCOM, and emerging technologies like WiMAX. In addition, the company provides components for use in Global Navigation Satellite Systems, like GPS. And many of its low noise/tight stability oscillators are used for instrumentation applications.

Harris Corporation celebrated the receipt of $61 million in orders to enable the Poland Ministry of National Defence to better communicate with coalition partners. Poland is acquiring the Harris Falcon III® AN/PRC-117G manpack and AN/PRC-152A handheld radios for the next phase of its tactical radio modernization. The Harris radios will provide Poland's armed forces with secure wideband combat net radio, tactical satellite and ground-to-air communications. Both radios are equipped with the Harris Adaptive Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2), which enables military forces to leverage advanced battle management applications such as collaborative chat, streaming video and intelligence collection.

Precision Devices, Inc., a member of the Avrio Technology Group, showed its flat pack Series XO clock oscillators for the first time at DSEI. Using premium swept quartz crystal in a 4-point mount blank, the clock oscillators are now screened to 100 krad Total Ionized Dose (TID), which means that they are verified to handle the radiation they will endure in space. The parts were tested in a proton beam of 64 MeV in steps of 25 krad until the total dose (TID) was 100 krad.

The oscillators are designed for low- to mid-orbit applications as standard, and other applications are available on request. The clock oscillators are available in a wide frequency range from 750 kHz to 800 MHz. Frequency stability is as low as 25 ppm. Four output options are available: CMOS, LVDS, LVCMOS and LVPECL. For maximum flexibility, the devices are available in flat pack packages with 14, 16, 20 or 24 pins.

Rohde & Schwarz conducted a live demonstration of the R&S®SDTR software defined tactical radio, now with an external control unit, which is the first member of a new generation of software defined radios. Launched in December 2012, it has been optimized for use in vehicles and semi-mobile applications. The R&S®SDTR, together with the secure, network enabled, high data rate R&S®HDR waveform family, is fully IP-capable and can be easily and seamlessly integrated into existing IP networks.

The R&S®SDTR is an open platform based on the software communications architecture (SCA) standard. Both standardized and proprietary waveforms can be ported to the radio, which enables interoperability with allied forces as required during missions. The newly available external control unit provides user-friendly configuration, and can be used to control the radio even over long distances. The company also showcased integrated radiocommunications and radiomonitoring systems for all classes of maritime platforms.

SPINNER is a reliable supplier of advanced components for radar systems - especially rotary joints. The company has gained expertise in design, manufacturing and maintenance of complex multi-channel rotary joints for the last 40 years and has developed more than 20,000 different rotary joint assemblies. These are not limited to SPINNER's core competence in optical and RF rotary joint solutions as the company also provides complex hybrid solutions that qualify it as an excellent partner for modern civil and military radar systems. The portfolio on show included: fibre-optic channel combinations, waveguide/coaxial/slip ring combinations, Ethernet transmission, non-contacting and contacting RF rotary joints, media joints and hybrid rotary joints.

As first time exhibitors at DSEI, TMD Technologies highlighted its latest microwave power modules. Particularly applicable for avionics applications, these MPMs are ultra compact and lightweight, as well as providing high efficiency and reliability. Suitable for radar, EW and communications applications, the pulsed and continuous wave ‘drop-in’ amplifier blocks are fully integrated, making installation simple and safe.

TMD's high power, fast warm, Ku band travelling wave tubes (TWTs) designed for missile seekers, were also on display. One model is the PT6789, which operates at the top of the Ku radar band and provides a peak power as high as 1000 W. It also offers a high duty ratio of up to 33%, at very high pulse repetition frequencies.

First-time DSEI exhibitor Trackwise showcased what is claimed to be the world’s largest multi-layer flexible printed circuit board. The company has developed a unique technique for manufacturing PCBs of any length. PCBs can be used as an alternative to traditional wiring harnesses, offering savings regarding space and weight.

Recent Articles by Richard Mumford, International Editor, Microwave Journal

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